Vaccinations in South Tyneside 'ahead of the curve' - while mass testing is also on the way

South Tyneside is ‘ahead of the curve’ with its Covid vaccination programme and mass test is expected to be introduced later this month.

By James Harrison
Thursday, 14th January 2021, 12:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th January 2021, 12:43 pm

NHS leaders for the borough have claimed their performance so far has outstripped most other parts of the country and are confident a jab will have been offered to all over 80s by next week.

Roll-out could also be completed in care homes by the end of this week, although bosses also admitted coronavirus outbreaks in some care facilities could delay this.

South Tyneside is ‘ahead of the curve’ with its Covid vaccination programme

“[South Tyneside’s] three [vaccination] sites are now live – two have been up and running for a few weeks and the third from this week,” said Matt Brown, director of operations at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“We anticipate all over 80s will have been offered a vaccine by early next week, so long as the vaccine supply comes as intended.

“Care homes should be complete for the most part by the end of this week, barring one or two situations where there have been some Covid cases in the home.”

Brown was speaking at a meeting of the borough council’s Health and Wellbeing Board on Wednesday, January 13, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

Mass testing hoped to start in South Tyneside later this month.

Vaccinations have also started at Newcastle Centre for Life, with over 80s living within a 45-minute drive of the facility among the groups targeted.

Tom Hall, the borough’s director of public health also claimed the vaccination programme was going ‘very well’ in South Tyneside so far and hinted more testing schemes would soon be available for key workers.

He added: “We’re looking at the rollout of lateral flow device testing in more of a targeted fashion within our communities.

“We’re expecting to have a programme up and running before the end of January, targeting some of our frontline workforces which can’t work from home or socially distance adequately, in addition to the existing measures we have to protect frontline workforces.”

Mr Hall also predicted the Government would soon unveil twice weekly testing for primary schools staff, both to identify cases as soon as possible and to help teachers back to work after close contact with a positive infection.

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